This isn't meant to be an ad for Kindle Create but I have to admit, this new and improved self-publishing app from Amazon made my life WAY easier.
After self-publishing three books using three different venues, there was one constant that I hated each time--formatting text and pages. For my most recent book, I came this close to shelling out a few thousand dollars to iUniverse or Book Baby just to have them deal with formatting. Each of those publishers has its fans and critics but each will cost you $1,200-$3,000 for a basic package that includes text and page formatting and maybe "editing" services. Editing is another story for another time.
The new and improved Kindle Create app converts your Word text into a Kindle-ready e-book and print book file. It will create a dynamic table of contents complete with hyperlinks for the e-book and page numbers for the printed version. As long as your chapter headings use Heading 1 or Heading 2 style and your chapters have page breaks at the beginning, the program detects and creates chapters. You toss out your Word-created table of contents.
Kindle Create gives you a few different formats to choose from, some font types and other customizations. You can move chapters around by dragging them through a menu, create front matter and insert elements. You can then click a button that says PRINT VERSION and it gives you about eight different page formats to choose from. It will use the font type that you chose for your e-book.
You can edit, add text and delete right in the Kindle Create program. Once finished, you click PUBLISH and it creates a proprietary file designed to upload to Kindle as both your e-book and printed book. It automatically makes the e-book pretty. It automatically sets margins, gutters and page numbers for the printed book. You will still have to design or import your cover and upload it separately.
The major downside of Kindle Create is significant: The file that is created for your Kindle upload is no good for anything else. You can't export the Kindle Create file in any other useful format such as PDF or .epub and you can't convert it. When I queried Kindle support about not being able to create a PDF of my final product, the agent replied with the usual "we will forward your message to our development team." So, any edits, updates or corrections you make in your Kindle Create file then have to be duplicated in your original Word or PDF file so you have it for posterity or another use. I guess this is Amazon's way of making the file as proprietary and Kindle-only as possible, but it sure is ham-handed and kind of mean.
Still, not having to navigate Word to create the proper gutters, margins, pagination, page size, messing with the Styles menu and all the other options you use once a year to create a file that is absolutely perfect for uploading is a stress-buster, as long as you accept that the output file is good ONLY as a Kindle e-book or paperback. Now that I've used Kindle Create to create an e-book and printed book, I will probably use it again and hope that Amazon will stop being stupid and add an export utility to create a PDF file at least.